We did not endorse Donald Trump for president (a decision we’ve yet had reason to regret). We don’t expect that he looks to our editorials for advice. But we’ll offer some anyway:
Stop talking about witch hunts and pardons. Lay off Attorney General Jeff Sessions; once his failure to disclose meetings with the Russian ambassador was exposed, he had no choice but to recuse himself. You shot yourself in the foot by firing FBI director James Comey; don’t compound the mistake.
Stop trying to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller and his team who are investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, including possible ties to the Trump campaign.
In short, the more you try to discredit or stifle the investigation the more it looks like you have something to hide.
If you know you’ve broken no laws, wait for the investigation to reveal that. Meanwhile, act like you’re president.
Sure, your super-size ego would take a bruising if it’s revealed that Vladimir Putin played you and your advisers for fools. Revelations about your family’s financial dealings could be embarrassing. But if you wanted to keep your private business out of the public eye, running for president was a foolish move. You can’t abide that your victory may be owed in even a small part to Russian shenanigans. But you won. You’re president. Nine months after that victory, you’re still obsessively tweeting about private citizen “Crooked Hillary.”
It might be a blessing that your agenda, which conflicts in key ways with your campaign promises, is stalled. But sooner or later a disaster, natural or manmade, will strike and a coordinated response will be demanded. Whether you have staffed up the government to handle an emergency seems doubtful as many high-level positions remain vacant, and the people you have appointed are mostly out to undermine their agencies’ missions.
The country needs a president; while you were not most voters’ choice, you are it. Your best hope of stemming the tide of public disapproval is to act presidential.
Of course, if you know that you committed a crime, just cut to the chase. Fess up, get it over with. Remember, as the late Sen. Howard Baker said of the Watergate scandal which he helped investigate for Congress, the coverup is usually what brings on the biggest trouble. Would Vice President Mike Pence fall on his sword for you like Gerald Ford did for Richard Nixon with a pardon? On that you know better than we.